5 Rules to Planning the Ultimate Office Holiday Party | EventPlanning.com

Every good company should make room for an end of year holiday party, but unfortunately the “fun” part often gets left out. So we put together a list to help some of you burgeoning party planners out. Take the initiative for the greater good of the staff and infuse your own flavor to this year’s holiday bash.



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Rule #1: Celebrate Off-Site

Get OUT – First and foremost, organize the event to take place somewhere outside of the office. Whether its a restaurant, a bar, or an executive’s house, getting people out of the corporate environment is always a good thing when it comes to letting the guard down and being able to unwind a bit. Still the same personalities and characters will be there, but this way any office drama or shenanigans will be left in the office and away from this end-of-year thank you. And the best part – little to no cleanup required afterwards.

Rule #2: Create a Theme

Let’s face it, most people like dressing up. Granted Halloween was just a few weeks ago, but don’t let that get in the way. Invite co-workers to come in to the office decked out in their finest holiday attire and reward the good-sport participants with prizes. Even just a Santa hat qualifies as playing along. And if you want a tip from our own annual parties, encourage festive costumes with a Holiday twist. Surely a zombie elf is due for a sighting.

Rule #3: Giving Back

The holidays are a time for giving. Sure employees feel that the end of the year is a time for the company to give back to them, and they may be right, but its also a time for us all to give to those less fortunate than us. So we recommend having an afternoon off with party festivities (in place of work) but you’re only allowed to participate if you bring in food or clothes to donate to a local charity or two. This is a win-win for all.

Rule #4: Gift Exchange or Free Compliments

Who doesn’t like a good gift? Fair enough. But compliments go a long way too. You could initiate a white elephant party of sorts, requiring co-workers to bring in anonymous and kitschy gift ideas… or you could put a twist on it and have folks draw names and write out a card to a co-worker praising them. Of course some co-workers may be harder to find nice things to say about than others, but we bet you can do it. Consider it a challenge if its not coming easy, then rise to the occasion. We all deserve to feel good, especially around this time of year. If you go the gift exchange route, put a gift purchase limit of $10 – 20.

Rule #5: Tunes, Drinks and Transportation

Finally, we’ve reached the last 3 ingredients of the perfect holiday party. Music is a must. Considering at this point that your fellow employees may have gotten their fill of holiday music, it may be nice to mix in some non-festive tunes. Nevertheless, a soundtrack must be provided to keep the mood on track. And we all know music goes well with drinks, but as a company you must take extra precautions when providing a liquid version of fun. Transportation home or complimentary hotel stays should be made available in these instances. Its in everybody’s best interest, and hopefully makes for the best office holiday party to date.

Good luck and let us know how your party goes!